The draft Official Community Plan is making its way through council readings receiving second reading on Monday May 7th. With this plan come great opportunities for Esquimalt to look into its future and provide a flexible document that serves as a map for future councils and community. Our vision statement should also serve as the map forward and council has received considerable feedback on its lack of comment for future aspiration.
“Esquimalt is a caring and welcoming community that has strong relationships with our neighbors, the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations, regional municipalities, and the naval base.
Our vibrant economy is supported by an engaged community. As a coastal community, we are stewards of our environment and value our past, present and future.”
All very strong and true values of our community, but no reference to what we want to see Esquimalt be in 10, 20 and even 40 years into the future.
This community discussion needs to take place, and it is unfortunate that the Official Community Plan is coming to council so far into current council’s mandate and so close to a future council's mandate.
Who should develop this vision? I have always found the dialogue candidates have with residents during the election period has provided strong input to council's strategic plan development. It has been informed by probably the broadest community engagement that you could hope for as door-knocking engagement, all candidates meetings, meet and greets, and media in all forms become touch points with residents in the community. Both the vocal and the silent community are heard from.
That strategic Plan should also work within the vision and the OCP as the community's guiding document.
So which comes first, and who should develop the Vision?
For my part, from conversations, community ideas, and engagement our vision could include:
“Esquimalt, a community of art, cultural and historic recognition, events and connections celebrating our diverse heritage, while enhancing the future prosperity of Esquimalt”
Love to hear your thoughts and comments on this!